NETWORKING W5 - Accessing the Hidden Job Market
Networking is a highly effective technique for career building. It's the act of making connections - with people, resources and programs - to confirm or discover your career interests and identify training and work opportunities.
But just how do you build your network, where do you start? This Networking W5 has been developed to give you some practical strategies.
The first step is to identify possible career allies from our immediate circle. This may include: parents, brothers, sisters, other relatives, friends, current or past employers, teachers, counsellors, coaches, neighbours or other people in your community.
Ask them questions about their work experiences, your field of interest and whether they know of anyone in that field who may be able to give you information and advice.
Assemble a list of approximately five people identified by your immediate circle. These will be candidates for information interviews.
While you're making personal connections, seek out information resources relevant to your field of interest, and research course selections and training as well as co-op or internship opportunities available for occupations in the field.
WHEN and WHERE
Everywhere and always! You'd be surprised how often you'll meet people in your field of interest - in the bleachers at a hockey game, at a weekend barbecue, at a school career fair, at the hair salon. Keep you eyes and ears open - career allies are all around you.
Career Allies are your best avenue to a work life that is personally rewarding. They can encourage, motivate and support you in your search for a career that aligns with you interest, personality, needs and desires. Very often, they lead you to opportunities in the 'hidden job market' - positions advertised only by word of mouth.
The three primary strategies for networking are: informal conversations, secondary research and formal information interviews. The casual chats are those you have with you immediate circle. The secondary research is that information you gather about careers. Guidance offices, the library and employment offices are great places to gather secondary research. Information interviews represent the third strategy.